Venus Williams thinking positive in bid to end Slam droughtBy DENNIS PASSA, Associated Press Writer
January 20, 2005
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) -- It's been more than three years since Venus Williams
won a Grand Slam title. After not even really contending for one in 2004, she's healthier and hoping to go far at the Australian Open.
And she keeps telling herself she can do just that.
``No matter what happens -- whether you played well, whether you played badly, whether you made good decisions or bad ones -- mentally you always have to feel like it's your turn to win,'' Williams said. ``I think that's the best mind-set.''
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She moved into the third round by beating China's Peng Shuai
6-3, 6-1 Thursday.
Last year, she lost in the third round at Melbourne, setting the tone for her season. She was beaten in the quarterfinals at the French Open, the second round at Wimbledon and the fourth round at the U.S. Open.
The most recent of Williams' four major titles came at the 2001 U.S. Open.
But with defending champion Justine Henin-Hardenne
, 2004 runner-up Kim Clijsters
and two-time champ Jennifer Capriati
out with injuries, Williams figures the title chase is wide open. And she feels she has the answer to winning again: ``Just continue the battle -- prepare better, play better, think better, be better.''
She had ankle, wrist and leg injuries last season -- and that was after a six-month layoff with a torn abdominal muscle.
``Things happen that you can't control yourself. Sometimes you have to step back,'' she said.
After a sputtering start Thursday in which Peng broke her serve, Williams took control, breaking back in the next game. She converted six of 13 break-point chances in the match, enough to advance to a match Saturday against Anna Smashnova
``You can't expect every match to be perfect,'' Williams said. ``I still had a few errors, and I definitely want to bring those down. But just in general I think my game was very solid. Basically just on the up-and-up.''
EMOTIONAL MYSKINA:@ French Open champion Anastasia Myskina
often watches tapes of her matches. She often doesn't like what she sees.
Myskina stormed around the court during her 6-4, 6-2 second-round win over Tzipora Obziler
of Israel at the Australian Open. She kicked balls, hit them into the court, yelled at herself and gestured with her hands to her face.
In the past, she's thrown rackets and even yelled into the crowd at her coach, Jens Gerlach, for not supporting her enough.
calls Myskina the ``moodiest'' of the Russian women.
Myskina says she's trying to improve, but on Thursday she looked like a work in progress.
She said she's ``been talking to my coach a lot about this. I see myself on TV, and I don't really like it. So I think that maybe I will change a lot. The way you look is really important.''
Earlier in the week, Myskina called tennis an ``emotional sport.''
``You have to express yourself,'' she said. ``Sometimes it helps, sometimes not.''
SCHETT QUITS:@ Tears came to Barbara Schett
's eyes Thursday, watching Daniela Hantuchova
serve for their match at the Australian Open.
That's when reality set in for the 12-year WTA Tour veteran: This would be her last singles match on the circuit.
``It was not very emotional until she had match point,'' Schett said. ``I was like, 'Oh, my God, where does that come from now?' This was going to be the last point of my career. I just realized it and it was very emotional.''
Schett, who lost 6-4, 6-0, decided last year that she would retire at the Australian Open, her favorite tournament but one where she had never progressed past the fourth round since her first visit in 1995. Schett, 28, won three titles in singles and 10 in doubles, earning just over $3 million). But a slide down the rankings -- she was 79th to start the year, down from a career-best of No. 7 in 1999 -- led her to walk away. ``I thought if I'm not improving, if the passion is not coming back, then I definitely want to quit,'' Schett said. ``It was a clear decision.''